UPDATED 9/15/2012 – Followup visit: See bottom of post
Granite’s Famous Cheesesteaks & Wings is located on Pleasant Grove near 65, cater-cornered from the Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club shopping center. Based on their Facebook history it seems they’ve been there since sometime in 2010. I only noticed them a couple months ago and have been meaning to try their wings, you know, since they’re famous and all.
Yesterday I stopped by for lunch at about noon. The little shop was about half full. There are only a handful of tables, I imagine they do a fair amount of take-out business. The menu isn’t all cheesesteaks and wings, they actually have a lot of different choices including sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, salads, fish & chips and lots of sides. I was interested in the hot wings, which come in 10, 15, 30, 50, 75 and 100 count orders. Based on a photo on the wall I gathered that they are made without batter. Sauce options were mild, hot, inferno, insane & garlic parmesan. I figured I should get a side to go with them and the New York fries caught my eye. The menu said “Nacho cheese & N.Y. Hot Sauce”, which sounded pretty good to me.
I stepped up to the counter and after a couple of minutes the cashier came up from the back to take my order. He didn’t really greet me, he just kind of got his pen and order ticket in hand and then looked up at me. I went ahead and ordered my food, I chose hot sauce for the wings, blue cheese to dip and ordered them all as drummets for an extra buck. I got a fountain soda as well. They have a small selection of beers and other beverages as well. I saw glass bottled coke in the cooler to the right of the counter but was in the mood for Mr. Pib today. Since it’s such a small place they didn’t take my name or give me a number.
I got my soda filled and gathered some paper towels around the corner of the front and took a small table against the front window. My order took about 10 minutes, maybe a little under, to be ready. One of the cooks got my attention and handed me my tray over the front counter. He was much more personable than the cashier and, with a smile, told me to enjoy.
The chicken wings were doused with hot sauce. A pool of it had formed on the plate. They were steaming like crazy, obviously right out of the fryer. I started with the fries in order to let them cool off a bit. The New York fries had a thick layer of nacho cheese on top, and underneath I found ground beef, which was not in the description. I couldn’t tell if there was hot sauce on them just by looking. The fries themselves were very crispy, which was good because they held up well under the beef and cheese without becoming soggy. Unfortunately, they were very bland. Not only were the fries bland, the cheese and beef didn’t really have a lot going on either. I definitely didn’t taste any hot sauce. Texture-wise they were satisfying, but they had little flavor.
The wings looked pretty thin. Only one or two seemed to have a good amount of chicken on them. When I picked up and bit into the first one I thought, oh, they do have batter. I figured out quickly though that I was wrong. In actuality, the wings were fried so long that they had become tough and crispy. The little chicken that was on them was stringy. The only good thing about them was the sauce, which was fairly hot and flavorful. Even the blue cheese was a little disappointing. At most places where I’ve had wings with blue cheese it’s strong and chunky, but here it was runny and medium strength as best.
Obviously I was very disappointed with the wings. The fries were a little better but I still wouldn’t order them again. With all the other items they have on the menu there’s a good chance something is good, but I would have thought with “wings” in the name they would be very good. These were probably the worst, if not very close to the worst, I’ve had. Maybe if I find myself starving and directly in front of the shop I would be tempted to try a cheesesteak, but I certainly won’t be getting wings here again.
After posting this I received many comments from people that had much better times here, as well as from the staff of Granites. I decided I would revisit this place for a cheesesteak and possibly try the wings one more time to see if I just had an isolated experience. Today I did just that. I called in my order (as not to be recognized and have it possibly affect the service or food) and picked it up at around 1:30. I had the same cashier (both on the phone and in person) with roughly the same customer service. Once I paid I filled up a soda cup and my order was ready for my as I was putting the lid on. I ordered a Steak Combination (Cheesesteak with mushrooms, onions and American cheese) as well as 10 wings with original hot sauce and blue cheese.
I was going to eat at the nearby park but there was a huge event going on there, soccer or something like that, so I just parked by Home Depot in the shade and ate in my car. Everything was heavily wrapped in foil, which I’m thankful of because like last time, the wings were in a pool of excess sauce. The styrofoam container mostly held it all, but in carrying it and driving caused some of it to leak out into the foil wrapping, instead of into the bag and then possibly onto my car seat. These wings looked identical to the last ones, but it was a night & day difference in terms of texture. These had definitely been cooked for less time and were tender and very enjoyable. My focus this visit was the cheesesteak but I ended up eating more wings than I planned on because they were great.
The cheesesteak was fantastic and despite eating quite a few of the wings I still ate the whole thing. It was VERY hot when I first unwrapped the foil. Everything was good about this ‘steak: taste, temp, texture, cheese/meat ratio, bread softness, I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about it.
Granite’s has won me over. I believe that my first visit was atypical, at least in terms of the food. Clearly they are capable of making some very good cheesesteaks and wings here. I will say that I still think they have a lot of room for improvement as far as customer service goes. I think a more appropriate rating would be 3.5-4 out of 5 now. I am leaving the original post untouched because it still represents exactly what I experienced on that visit and is certainly possible that it could happen again, but take into account this followup as well as reviews on Yelp if you are hesitant in visiting Granites. I think you’ll find that for the most part they are generally well respected.